December 17, 2012 - Comments Off on Search under the Spotlight

Search under the Spotlight

There’s no doubt about it – 2012 has been a huge year in the world of search and digital marketing. From Penguin to Panda, there’s been Google updates aplenty, shifting the focus to content marketing and integration. It’s been a huge year of change and opportunity for marketeers. Some might even go as far as to say that 2012 has been the year that Search has firmly positioned itself at the heart of any good marketeer’s digital strategy.

If you subscribe to the Drum magazine, you might have noticed that such topics were the focus of this month’s Search supplement. And if you are really beady eyed, you might have noticed that Alex Craven, our CEO, graced the pages of said supplement. Below, are Alex’s answers to the questions posed to him by the Drum.

What can you learn from SEO and how can it be applied to PPC? (and vice versa)?

By sharing SEO and PPC insight the effectiveness of each channel is maximised.  For example, seeing a new keyphrase in organic search can indicate a change in consumer search behaviour that can inform a new PPC keyphrase. This insight also needs to be mirrored with onsite optimisation. Conversely, you can test the efficiency of keyphrases on PPC before investing in ongoing SEO activity.

What is the biggest challenge facing the search marketing industry at present?

Traditionally search was a technical specialism, today it demands creativity and a host of “soft” people skills that some agencies will struggle to adapt to. Search is sexy, based on combining great sites with exciting content and connecting with influencers. It is a discipline of creativity, people, and reputation management.

Search experts are now digital asset managers that manage a brand’s online reputation – an integral part of social media and public relations. For search to be truly effective it must be an integral part of all marketing activity. Search must seamlessly weave around all elements of a campaign to ensure that they drive traffic to the brand or product.

How does the new Google Disavow tool work? What does it mean for digital marketers?

The tool gives those penalised by Google a chance to undo bad links. This tool should only be used for sites that have serious problems. It gives digital marketers a chance to right previous wrongs.

Does PPC get an unfair reputation as SEO’s ‘poor relation’ when it comes to innovation and creativity? How would you dispel this notion?

The short answer is yes. There is a strong role for PPC working in tandem with SEO – from testing creative approaches and ad copy messaging to targeting emerging keyphrases trends. These learnings can be directly applied back to SEO. Without PPC you’re not only ignoring an important traffic source – you will also miss out on an important data source that can be utilised to inform and refine your SEO strategy. This is crucial in maximising the efficiency and profitability of your holistic Search strategy.

What is the single biggest development in search marketing at the moment?

Google has promised to tie-up analytics across multi-device search metrics. This will fundamentally change our understanding of the customer journey.

What is the single biggest development in search marketing outside of Google, going into 2013?

It is impossible to look far beyond Google if you are talking about search. However, the growth of mobile will become the primary concern for search marketers in the next three years.

Next year is being dubbed ‘Empty 2013’. How can search marketing aid online marketing strategies?

Search and social is playing an increasingly important role in informing all marketing strategy. Big data allows marketers to better understand their customers’ journey and model behaviour to create highly targeted campaigns that will deliver the appropriate message at the right time.

What are your three tips for mobile search success?

1. Mobile optimised website – in an ideal world brands would build a mobile site first and then look at the desktop. This will force brands to consider what is important.

2. Understand the role of mobile in the customer journey – context of use is as important as the UX.

3. A top three position is crucial.